Monday, 31 October 2011

Best books.

These are the very best books I've come across.

 ‘Not a Man’  is the story of Shuki, a Coming of Age novel.
An excerpt form a review by Harper Collins.  
‘Not a Man’ is an ambitious and insightful novel; it tells the story of Shuki, a young boy from the slums of Elbarada, a fictional area of Arabia, who is castrated against his will at the age of 10. Shuki’s journey is one of great trial but also incredible strength, courage, and determination, and as a hero, he is fantastic, evoking not only sympathy, but aspiration and reverence. I loved the fact that the operation which is supposed to prevent him from reaching manhood is the very thing that makes him strong and mature. The novel is written in a pared down manner; the narrative reminded me of the prose styling of Paulo Coelho: unaffected and matter-of-fact.”
Other reviews:

Zimsuvig:  'Not a Man' is the story of a boy who comes from the disease-ridden slums of a city of Arabia. He has seen siblings die of hunger. But then his life changes when a rich man takes him for a bed-boy.
Shuki is a complex character, bright, cunning and sometimes ruthless. He is not cruel, but when he believes it is needed, he will act without mercy. In the first chapter, something awful happens to him - his master has him castrated. But in the second chapter, we begin to see that Shuki is a very long way from being a mere victim - he poisons the doctor who did what he'd been told was 'a small operation a bit like a circumcision.' Shuki is a fully realised and quite complex character.
I very much enjoyed this book, and really did feel as if I'd been on a journey, Shuki's journey. This is a most rewarding read.

5 stars   By Jo Ellis
Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a truly wonderful story of bravery, love and acceptance. It also shows how cruel people can be but this only intensifies the bravery of Shuki.

As I usuallly do in reviews, I don't want to give away too much of the story. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It may be long but it doesn't seem that way at all and I flew through each page and I feel more in love with the sweet, remarkable Shuki to more I read. I was hooked, intrigued and drawn in from the first page of this story.

I was delighted with how this book ended and I did not see coming many of the obstacles and terrible things that happened to Shuki and I also didn't predict the end at all which we always want in a book.

This book isn't for the faint hearted but more than makes up for the necessary horrors of this story being told by being an endearing tale with rich, wonderful characters and unique story.

You will smile, you will cry, you will cringe and you will cheer when you read this book about a man who isn't a man but is more of a man than many men.
Not a Man is a beautifully written book, about a very delicate subject. I will admit I did find it hard to read in places, but that aside it was still a compelling book to read as I had to discover if Shuki would ever find freedom, and ultimately find his own form of happiness. I will not spoil for anyone, but urge you to read this well crafted novel for yourself.

Now Published:  The sequel to 'Not a Man' -  'The King's Favourite.'

Equally as fascinating as 'Not a Man.'  This is a startlingly original series with an unforgettable hero.


Hamelin's Child by DJ Bennett

Michael Redford died on his seventeenth birthday – the night Eddie picked him up off the street, shot him full of heroin and assaulted him.

Now he’s Mikey and he works for Joss. With streaked blond hair and a cute smile, he sleeps by day and services clients at night. Sometimes he remembers his old life, but with what he’s become now, he knows there is no return to his comfortable middle-class background.

Then he makes a friend in Lee. A child of the streets, Lee demands more from friendship than Mikey is prepared to give. But the police are closing in on them now and Mikey’s not sure anymore who he really is – streetwise Mikey or plain Michael Redford.

Hamelin’s Child was long-listed in the UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award.   (approx 85,000 word novel)


* Hamelin's Child is an outstanding read. I came across the title in a forum discussion and was interested enough to download a sample, and from that decided it was worth the purchase. I started reading it the same day and didn't stop until it was finished. The story is about a 17-year old boy who falls into the clutches of a couple of villains who drug him over a period of weeks and force him into homosexual prostitution. There is some explicit sexual activity in the book, but not for the sake of being lurid. It is critical to the plot as the protagonist (Michael/Mikey) slowly loses touch with his former self and his addiction takes control of his life. While the subject matter is dark, Michael is a character you will care about. Even as he makes unwise choices and immerses himself in the very lifestyle he hates, he manages to hang onto his soul. DJ Bennett is an excellent writer, and she does a wonderful job fleshing out her characters, especially Michael and his sister, Mary, who never gives up on her brother even as her own life veers off course. The author resisted the temptation most writers have to wrap everything up in a pretty bow at the end, but I still find the conclusion satisfying. If you like a bit of rawness in your reading as I do, I highly recommend this book.
* Review by Veronice:  
One of the most utterly gripping books I’ve ever read. It made me angry what happened to Michael. It seemed so shocking – but when I thought about it, getting a girl addicted to drugs has been a favourite method of pimps to acquire girls for many, many years. It is not new because Michael is male. Yet it seems so much more shocking. 
Hamelin’s Child is an extremely good book.

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